Let’s begin with the understanding that this is all one big game.

Drug tests? Suspensions? Appeal hearings? Games, games and more games. There are no good guys or bad guys. Just cops and robbers playing their roles.

So while Alex Rodriguez was as full of it as he ever has been and ever will be on Wednesday, storming out of his own appeal hearing against Major League Baseball then fuming for Mike Francesa’s benefit on WFAN, let’s give him and his team (his lawyers, not the Yankees, sillies) credit for the winning move of the day:

The more Team A-Rod can make this about Bud Selig, the more public support he’ll generate.

“He doesn’t have the nerve to come and face me face-to-face?” A-Rod asked of the baseball commissioner, as he took a page out of Don King’s playbook while sitting with Francesa. This after independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz turned down Team A-Rod’s request to have Selig testify as a de facto hostile witness.

There was plenty more where that came from, most of it sure to be effective in the court of public opinion. Maybe even in actual court, if Team A-Rod can somehow convince a federal judge its lawsuit against MLB shouldn’t be dismissed. Professor A-Rod taught a graduate course in obfuscation.

For let’s not conflate effectiveness with merit: This was an utterly bogus beef by A-Rod, who continues to rail against the very process that helped him become, well, “A-Rod” in the first place.

Free agency came to be in MLB, during the 1970s, as a result of the independent arbitrator. The independent arbitrator is responsible for alleviating or eliminating the suspensions of players such as Steve Howe, John Rocker and Ryan Braun.

To think A-Rod can’t get a fair shake in this hearing is preposterous. Marvin Miller might make the Hall of Fame next month thanks in part to this process, which he helped create as he built the Players Association into the industry giant it still is. For all of the obsessing over MLB COO Rob Manfred serving as both a panelist and a witness on behalf of MLB, the union has the same advocate with the same power in general counsel David Prouty. And Horowitz comes in to break the tie.

Again: It’s one big game. MLB didn’t want Selig to testify. A-Rod wanted him to, and the Players Association had A-Rod’s back. But Horowitz decided in MLB’s favor. That should be it. On to the next point.

They’re all points: the controversial, 211-game length of the suspension; the threat MLB would impose further discipline upon A-Rod if he denied taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs in his testimony; the credibility of MLB’s star witness Anthony Bosch.

You play the points, you present your case and your witnesses, and you try to prevail. Braun played the game brilliantly, finding a flaw in the collection of his urine sample to overturn his positive test, before giving up after Bosch flipped.

A-Rod and his counsel come off as fools when complaining about the very same process that has historically and profoundly aided players. And we know they’re better than this, because we see them playing the Selig card so well.